CONRAD BLACK:: Castro Pegs the GOP Primaries, As the Best Contenders Shun American Presidential Contest – NewYorkSun
The first words Fidel Castro has ever uttered that I have agreed with are those recently published on his blog, in which he opined that the current U.S. Republican nomination race is one of the most inane and stupid events in modern world history. On its record, the Obama administration should be sent packing, bag and baggage. It will have issued $5-trillion of new debt in one term, and publicly held federal debt as a percentage of GDP will have increased from under 50% to about 80%. It is a regime of narcissistic posturing and confidence tricks and bad policy options that richly deserves and badly needs a severe thrashing at the polls, as did its arrogant, bone-headed predecessor and the louche, rascality-tainted latter Clinton road-show that preceded that.
Instead, there could well be only the second occurrence of three consecutive two-term administrations in the country’s history (after Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, the scarcely comparable principal authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Monroe Doctrine, 1801-1825).
The most disturbing aspect of this election is that despite the parlous condition of the country and the profound vulnerability of the incumbent, the best Republican candidates — Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Haley Barbour — have sat it out. As I keep lamenting, in the terrible year 1968, with assassinations, riots, 550,000 draftees in Vietnam and 200 to 400 of them returning in body bags every week, at one time or another, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan were all running for president, and all of them were more impressive than the present contestants.
Of the surviving Republican contenders, Ron Paul is a sound monetarist and a doughty libertarian, but he is a 76-year old kook who, like President Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, thinks 9/11 was the chickens coming home to roost. Newt Gingrich is a completely unfeasible flake. Rick Santorum is consistent, courageous, and believably argues for fiscal encouragement of families and the creation of jobs that add value to the economy and not just more lawyers and consultants and service-industry leeches. But he has his feet stuck in cement on abortion and same-sex marriage, and early in the campaign even criticized contraception. These shouldn’t be partisan issues at all, and any candidate who gets into them has self-detonating grenades strapped to his torso, front and back. Mitt Romney is more presentable and has a successful private-sector career behind him, but is afflicted by plasticity and has faced in all four directions on most issues.
It has been dismal, though at times amusing, to see the national media pick off every alternative to Romney who has raised his or her head: Michele Bachmann, with her opposition to inoculations in schools; Rick Perry with “Oops” as he forgot which cabinet department he wanted to abolish, and dilated on the fun of jogging with a handgun; Herman(ator) Cain and his peccadilloes (though at least he got them all talking about tax simplification); Newt with his $1.6-million for teaching “history” at Freddie Mac, and his plan to colonize the moon.